Media briefing: Natural carbon removal solutions and California policy

Limiting global warming to within the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold of dangerous warming, per the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, requires both dramatically cutting emissions and removing existing carbon pollution from the atmosphere. In order to achieve the latter, California policymakers often conflate natural carbon removal solutions through soil and vegetation sequestration and very early stage direct air capture (technology to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere) with carbon capture and storage, which operates at the smokestack or source of emissions. Read more about CCS here.

The potential climate benefits of nature-based solutions versus technological drawdown are, however, vastly different, as are the implications for environmental justice and frontline communities. This briefing is for reporters looking to gain a deeper understanding of how natural carbon removal methods — also called nature-based solutions — can help secure urgently needed climate goals while advancing climate and environmental justice in California. It covers:

  • The costs of implementing nature-based carbon sequestration solutions at scale compared to technological drawdown methods;
  • Perspectives from environmental justice communities;
  • Co-benefits of nature-based solutions, including water and food security, wildfire resilience, and cleaner air;
  • How efforts to sequester carbon can complement policies to reduce emissions and pollution; and
  • New state legislation sponsored by The Climate Center and partners to establish natural carbon removal targets for California.